The Hobby Protection Act is something of a misnomer. Most hobbies don’t need much by way of protection. But if you or your clients are involved in the sale of coins or certain collectibles, it’s a law you need to know about. The FTC’s settlement with the National Collector’s Mint and Avram C. Freedberg alleges violations of the Hobby Protection Act — and also raises interesting issues about how the company’s automated ordering system compounded other deceptive practices challenged in the case.
Blog Posts Tagged with Telemarketing
Usually we lay out the facts of a case and then summarize what we see as the take-away tips for business. But this time we’re switching things up. Here are the two bottom-line messages from the FTC’s ongoing action against The Cuban Exchange: It’s a Bad Idea to use robocalls to impersonate familiar groups in an effort to trick people into turning over their bank account info and other sensitive data. And it’s a Really Bad Idea when the group you impersonate is the Federal Trade Commission.
Let’s cut to the chase, Girlfriend. You’re one annoying you-know-what. And according to multiple lawsuits filed by the FTC, those robocalls you’re placing are big-time illegal.
If you or your company comes up with a technological solution to the scourge of illegal robocalls, you could earn national accolades — and, under the right circumstances, $50,000. Yes, you read that right.
Like the character in the 70s movie “Network,” many consumers are “mad as hell and not going to take this anymore.” What’s aroused their ire? Robocalls made in violation of a 2009 rule outlawing many of these automated calls. That’s why the FTC is convening Robocalls: All the Rage, a one-day conference — it’s free and open to the public — set for October 18, 2012, in Washington, DC.
For most consumers, the scam started with a disturbing phone call. We’re from Microsoft (or Dell or Norton or McAfee), the “tech support” person on the line said, and we’ve detected a serious problem with your computer. To underscore the need for immediate action, the caller directed people to a particular location on their computers and claimed that the presence of certain files — often accompanied by red Xs, yellow triangles, and other ominous features — was proof that their computers were riddled with malware and in imminent danger of crashing. "Tech support" promised to correct the i
"Hey, I've never met you.
So don't get clever.
That's my number.
Robocall me never."
There are lots of good reasons for infomercial marketers and other retailers to abide by truth-in-advertising principles. But for people who insist on a dollars-and-cents rationale, the Court-ordered $478 million price tag for violations related to national ads for money-making systems makes legal compliance look like a bargain.
It’s not an easy time to be a timeshare owner. And the last thing they need is a company making false promises that corporate buyers and renters are clamoring for their timeshares — if owners will just pony up a “registration fee” between $500 and $2,000. According to a lawsuit filed by the FTC and Florida AG, that’s what was going on with an Orlando-based outfit called Information Management Forum.
Consumer complaints about robocalls have multiplied. New technologies make it cheaper to send pre-recorded messages and con artists have gotten trickier about obscuring the origin of their calls. But businesses shouldn’t be tempted to take telemarketing short-cuts because the FTC is cracking down on illegal robocalls.
Never underestimate the creativity of marketers attempting to separate cash-strapped consumers from their last dollar. And never underestimate the FTC’s resolve to protect people from deception in tough economic times. Those are just two points to take from recent FTC law enforcement actions.
We've done a little renovating around the BCP Business Center. Nothing major like adding a rumpus room or finishing the basement. Just a few updates in response to your suggestions.
On classic episodes of the Tonight Show, affable sidekick Ed McMahon sought guidance from Johnny Carson's all-knowing Carnac character. But as demonstrated by a recent FTC law enforcement action — which involved a company's misleading reference to the late Mr. McMahon — you don't need a psychic to know that challenging deceptive debt collection practices remains a top priority.
In Short: Advertising and Privacy Disclosures in a Digital World — an FTC workshop to discuss guidance on disclosures in the online and mobile world — is set for May 30, 2012. This is the latest development in the ongoing conversation about revising the FTC’s 2000 guidance publication, Dot Com Disclosures.
Last week saw FTC announcements involving allegations of foreclosure rescue fraud, deception aimed at people trying to resell their timeshares, complaints against payday lenders, and lawsuits against outfits claiming to help consumers behind on their car payments. Is there a theme here? You bet. But the message isn't just for companies engaged in practices targeting consumers struggling to stay afloat. There are words to the wise for businesses of any size and every stripe.
There are lots of good reasons for businesses to comply with the National Do Not Call Registry: It ensures your marketing message will be heard by a more receptive audience and it protects your company from the ire of consumers who don’t want to be disturbed. But in a case involving calls pitching "free" government grants, a federal judge in Rochester, New York, just added 30 million more reasons not to call people on the list.
The FTC has filed another action against defendants who allegedly attempted to squeeze the last drop from homeowners already under water. This case, however, involves a disturbing new variation on foreclosure "rescue" operations.
When the FTC conducts an investigation to see if a company has violated the law, it’s important that the process is efficient and not unduly burdensome on those involved. The FTC’s Rules of Practice lay out the procedures the Commission follows.
In the market for a $430 case of shower caps or some “dolphin shaped craft embellishments”? Have they got a deal for you! But for people who thought they were paying $99 up front and $19 a month for a credit card, all they got was access to the defendants’ online store, which sold bulk quantities of off-brand, overpriced items.
The BCP Business Center is here to help you comply with applicable laws. But we’re also committed to protecting business owners from deception. That’s why it’s important you have accurate information if you’re thinking about investing in precious metals. An ongoing FTC law enforcement action suggests that potential investors should step on the brakes if salespeople tout big money and low risks.